Water
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* Greening Household Behaviour: Overview from the 2011 Survey. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, July 2013, 308p, $77pb with e-book. Governments of OECD countries have introduced a wide variety of measures to encourage citizens to consider environmental impacts in their purchases and practices. Developing growth strategies that promote greener lifestyles requires a good understanding of the factors that affect people's behavior towards the environment. OECD took periodic surveys of >10,000 households in 11 countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), covering five specific household behavior areas (energy use, food consumption, transport choices, waste and recycling, and water use). Calls for providing the right economic incentives for influencing household decisions. "Soft" measures such as labeling and public information campaigns also have a significant complementary role to play. Spurring desirable behavior change requires a mix of instruments. (GREEN LIFESTYLES * HOUSEHOLD GREEN BEHAVIOR * ENERGY * FOOD * WATER * WASTE)

 

** Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food SecurityLester R. Brown (President, Earth Policy Institute, Washington; www.earthpolicy.org ).  NY: W. W. Norton, Oct 2012, 144p, $16.95pb.  “The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity.  Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by a third.  World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food.  Food is the new oil.  Land is the new gold.” (p.3) We are entering a new era of rising food prices and spreading hunger (the number of hungry people in the world dropped to a low of 792 million in 1997, and is now climbing to 1 billion).  On the demand side of the food equation, population growth, rising affluence, and conversion of crops into fuel combine to raise consumption.  On the supply side, extreme soil erosion, growing water shortages and depleted aquifers, and rising temperatures make it more difficult to expand production.  Chapters discuss growth in human and livestock populations, some 3 billion people moving up the food chain by adding animal protein, production of ethanol and biodiesel displacing forests and food crops, accelerating loss of topsoil creating dust bowls and dust storms, depletion of water tables (in China, India, the US, and the Middle East—no country has succeeded in arresting the fall in its water tables, grain yields starting to plateau, the effect of rising temperatures on food crops (a 1oC rise above the norm lowers wheat, rice, and corn yields by 10%; corn is especially vulnerable), the rapid rise in world soybean consumption (China is by far the top importer), the global land rush as land and water become scarce, and initiatives to prevent a food breakdown (stabilize world population, reduce meat consumption, cancel biofuel mandates, cut carbon emissions to stabilize climate, raise carbon taxes, remove massive subsidies to fossil fuels, upgrade public transport, raise water productivity through drip irrigation and pricing, control soil erosion through no-till farming, and reduce military budgets: “armed aggression is no longer the principal threat to our future; the overriding threats in this century are climate change, population growth, spreading water shortages, rising food prices, and politically failing states.” (p.121)  [ALSO SEE “Food, Fuel, and the Global Land Grab” by Lester R. Brown (The Futurist Cover Feature, Jan-Feb 2013, Pp21-26) and “From Farm to Landfill” (New York Times Editorial, 30 Sept 2012, SR16), noting that some 40% of food in the US is never eaten and thus wasted.] (FOOD AND AGRICULTURE * SECURITY * WATER)

 

** Global Environment Outlook 5: Environment for the Future We Want (GEO-5).  UN Environmental Programme.  NY: United Nations, June 2012, 525p, $80 (also 20p. Summary for Policy Makers; www.unep.org/geo).  “Currently observed changes to the Earth System are unprecedented in human history.”  Efforts to slow the rate or extent of change have resulted in moderate successes, but have not reversed the scope or speed of change.  Significant progress has been made in only 4 of 90 environmental goals (as concerns protecting the ozone layer, removing lead from fuels, better access to water, and research to reduce marine pollution.  Little or no progress was found for 24 goals, including climate change, fish stocks, desertification, and drought.  “As human pressures on the Earth System accelerate, several critical global, regional, and local thresholds are close or have been exceeded. Once these have been passed, abrupt and possibly irreversible change to the life-support functions of the planet are likely to occur, with significant adverse implications for human well-being.”  Examples at a regional scale are the collapse of freshwater lake and estuary systems due to eutrophication, and accelerated and irreversible melting of glaciers and the Arctic ice-sheet.  In turn, this will lead to increasing frequency and severity of floods and droughts, significant human health impacts, sea level rise, and substantial biodiversity loss affecting provision of ecosystem services.  Chapters discuss drivers (population growth, consumption, urbanization), the atmosphere, land, water, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, an Earth System perspective, data needs, Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, North America, West Asia, regional summaries, scenarios, sustainability transformation, and necessary global responses.  [Also see OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction (March 2012, 350p), providing similar warnings about temperature rise, biodiversity, water, and health.]   (ENVIRONMENT * WATER * CLIMATE CHANGE)

 
 

** Global Environment Outlook 5: Environment for the Future We Want (GEO-5).  UN Environmental Programme.  NY: United Nations, June 2012, 525p, $80 (also 20p. Summary for Policy Makers; www.unep.org/geo).  “Currently observed changes to the Earth System are unprecedented in human history.”  Efforts to slow the rate or extent of change have resulted in moderate successes, but have not reversed the scope or speed of change.  Significant progress has been made in only 4 of 90 environmental goals (as concerns protecting the ozone layer, removing lead from fuels, better access to water, and research to reduce marine pollution.  Little or no progress was found for 24 goals, including climate change, fish stocks, desertification, and drought.  “As human pressures on the Earth System accelerate, several critical global, regional, and local thresholds are close or have been exceeded. Once these have been passed, abrupt and possibly irreversible change to the life-support functions of the planet are likely to occur, with significant adverse implications for human well-being.”  Examples at a regional scale are the collapse of freshwater lake and estuary systems due to eutrophication, and accelerated and irreversible melting of glaciers and the Arctic ice-sheet.  In turn, this will lead to increasing frequency and severity of floods and droughts, significant human health impacts, sea level rise, and substantial biodiversity loss affecting provision of ecosystem services.  Chapters discuss drivers (population growth, consumption, urbanization), the atmosphere, land, water, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, an Earth System perspective, data needs, Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, North America, West Asia, regional summaries, scenarios, sustainability transformation, and necessary global responses.  [Also see OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction (March 2012, 350p), providing similar warnings about temperature rise, biodiversity, water, and health.]   (ENVIRONMENT * WATER * CLIMATE CHANGE)

 
*River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America’s RiversDaniel McCool (Director, Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Prof of Pol Sci, U of Utah).  NY: Columbia U Press, Aug 2012, 352p, $26.99 (e-book).  Chronicles the history of water-development agencies in America and the way in which special interests have abused rather than preserved the country’s rivers.  Narrates the surging grassroots movement to bring these rivers back to life and ensure that they remain pristine for future generations.  As a result, America’s rivers are returning to a healthier, free-flowing condition.  The politics of river restoration have also brought democratic grassroots activism back to its meaningful roots. (ENVIRONMENT * RIVER RESTORATION * WATER)

 

**OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of InactionOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Paris: OECD, March 2012, 350p (8x10”), $112pb.   World population has increased by >3 billion since 1970 to 7 billion, and the size of the world economy has more than tripled.  This growth has pulled millions out of poverty, but it has been unevenly distributed and incurred major cost to the environment.  “Natural assets have been and continue to be depleted.”  Providing for 2 billion more people by 2050 and improving living standards for all will challenge our ability to manage and restore those natural assets on which all life depends.  “Failure to do so will have serious consequences, especially for the poor, and ultimately undermine the growth and human development of future generations.”  Looks forward to 2050 to suggest what demographic and economic trends might mean for the environment if the world does not adopt more ambitious green policies, using a “Baseline scenario” and a “450 Delayed Action Scenario.”  Focuses on four “red light” areas: 1) Climate Change: alternative growth pathways to stabilize GHGs at 450ppm, the level that has a 50% chance of keeping temperature rise to 2oC; 2) Biodiversity: loss of biodiversity is a major environmental challenge; “despite some local successes, biodiversity is on the decline globally and this loss is projected to continue; continuing with business as usual may have far-reaching adverse implications for human well-being, security and economic growth”; 3) Water: worldwide, cities, farmers, industries, energy suppliers, and ecosystems are increasingly competing for water; the situation is likely to deteriorate by 2050 without major policy changes; 4) Health and Environment: explores current and projected impacts of four key environmental factors: air pollution, unsafe water supply and poor sanitation, chemicals, and climate change (with emphasis on the incidence of malaria).   (ENVIRONMENT *  CLIMATE CHANGE * BIODIVERSITY * WATER * HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

* Water Governance in OECD Countries: A Multilevel Approach.  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Paris: OECD, Feb 2012, 236p (8x10”), $105pb.  Addresses the main coordination gaps among ministries, levels of government, and local actors in terms of policy-making, financing, information, accountability, objectives, and capacity-building, and provides a platform of existing governance mechanisms to bridge them.  Data were collected through an extensive survey on water governance in 2010 to which 17 OECD countries contributed. The report 1) maps the allocation of responsibilities in water policy design, regulation and implementation; 2) identifies common multi-level governance bottlenecks for integrated water policy; 3) suggests main policy responses for managing mutual dependencies across levels of government in water policy design and implementation; 4) promotes decision-making that integrates actors at all levels; and 5) encourages adoption of relevant capacity-building, monitoring and evaluation tools.  (WATER * WATER GOVERNANCE: OECD)
 

  

* Virtual Water: Tackling the Threat to Our Planet’s Most Precious ResourceTony Allan (Prof of Geography, King’s College, U of London).   I. B. Tauris (dist by Palgrave Macmillan), Aug 2011, 384p, $18pb. . All the goods we buy – from clothing to computers – have a water cost.  Making a cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water, when the total amount of water used in growing, producing, packaging, and shipping the beans are considered.  A hamburger consumes 2,400 liters of water, and a pair of blue jeans 11,000 liters.  “Virtual water” is the powerful new concept created by Prof. Allan that reveals the hidden facts of our real water consumption, enabling us to manage our water in a more sustainable way. 
(WATER * VIRTUAL WATER * WATER COST RECONSIDERED)
 
* Water Resources Planning and Management.  Edited by R. Quentin Grafton and Karen Hussey (both Australian National U, Canberra).  NY: Cambridge U Press, March 2011, 800p, $90.  Water is an increasingly critical issue at the forefront of global policy change, management and planning.  There are growing concerns about water as a renewable resource, its availability for a wide range of users, aquatic ecosystem health, and global issues relating to climate change, water security, water trading and water ethics.  Brings together multiple disciplines to understand and help resolve problems of water quality and scarcity from a global perspective, with case studies from Australia, India, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, the US, Canada, China, and Jordan.  Topics include the global water cycle, water quality basics, global food production in a water-constrained world, inland water ecosystems, management of transboundary waters, international law as fundamental to peaceful management, capacity-building and knowledge-sharing, mining water, adaptive and integrated management of water resources, gender issues, market mechanisms, and inter-sectoral water trading as a climate change adaptation strategy.
(WATER * WATER: PLANNING/MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW)
 
* The World’s Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources (Volume 7)Peter H. Gleick (President, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland CA).  Washington: Island Press, Dec 2011, 400p (9x11”), $35pb.  Examines global trends and offers the best data available on a variety of topics related to water.  Features chapters on US water policy, transboundary waters, and the effects of fossil fuel production on water resources.  Water briefs provide concise updates on topics including bottled water, The Great Lakes Water Agreement, and water and security.                                                       (ENVIRONMENT * WATER * WATER POLICY)
 
** Water Security: The Water-Food-Energy-Climate NexusThe World Economic Forum Water Initiative.  Davos:  World Economic Forum (dist by Island Press), Jan 2011, 300p, $30pb (also e-book).  “The world is on the brink of the greatest crisis it has ever faced: a spiraling lack of fresh water,” as demand for water surges, while groundwater dries up. Worsening water security will soon have dire consequences in many parts of the global economic system.  At its 2008 Davos Annual Meeting, the WEF assembled a group of public, private, NGO and academic experts to examine the water crisis issue from all perspectives.  The resulting forecast – a stark, nontechnical overview of where we will be by 2025 if we take a business-as-usual approach to (mis)managing our water resources – suggests how business and politics need to manage the water-food-energy-climate nexus as leaders negotiate details of a climate change regime to replace the Kyoto protocols.          
(WATER * SECURITY AND WATER * CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * FOOD/AGRICULTURE)
 
** The World’s Water 2011-2012: The Biennial Report on Freshwater ResourcesPeter H. Gleick (President, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security; Oakland CA).  Washington: Island Press, June 2011, 400p (9x11”), $35pb (also e-book).  First published in 1998-1999, the 2011-12 report examines critical global trends and features chapters on US water policy, transboundary waters, and the effects of fossil fuel production on water resources.  Water “briefs” provide concise updates on such topics as bottled water, The Great Lakes Water Agreement, and the state of the Colorado River.                            (WATER * FRESHWATER * ENVIRONMENT/RESOURCES)
 
** America’s Environmental Report Card: Are We Making the Grade? (Second Edition).  Harvey Blatt (Prof of Geology, Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew U of Jerusalem).  Cambridge: MIT Press, April 2011, 376p, $19.95pb.  Looks at water supplies, new concerns about water purity, the dangers of floods, infrastructure problems, the leaching of garbage buried in landfills, soil, contaminated crops, organic food, fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, controversies over nuclear energy, the increasing pace of climate change, and air pollution.  Outlines workable and reasonable solutions that map the course to a sustainable future, and argues that American can lead the way to a better environment: we can afford it, and can’t afford not to.   [Also see America’s Food: What You Don’t Know About What You Eat by Harvey Blatt (MIT, 2008).]  
(ENVIRONMENT/RESOURCES * ENERGY * POLLUTION IN U.S. * WATER * FOOD)
 
*Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities: Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities 2010.   UN-HABITAT.  Published with UN-HABITAT.  London & Sterling VA: Earthscan (dist by Stylus), April 2010/256p/$49.95pb.  Solid waste management will be a key challenge facing all the world’s cities. Uses the framework of Integrated Sustainable Waste Management to briing together research on 22 cities across 6 continents. Uncovers the diversity of waste management systems and draws out the practical lessons for policy-makers. (CITIES * SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT * WORLD’S CITIES * WATER AND CITIES * SANITATION AND CITIES * SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT)
 
* Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis.  Jerry Yudelson (Yudelson Associates).  Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, June 2010, 240p, $19.95pb.  An expert on green building and sustainability views fresh water shortages as an increasingly serious global problem in the “Age of Scarcity” now upon us.   Proposes solutions for homes, buildings, facilities, and schools.  Demonstrates best practices for water conservation, rainwater harvesting, graywater reuse and water reclamation systems, water efficiency retrofits, onsite sewage treatment, and new water reuse and supply technologies.                                                (WATER CRISIS * CITIES AND WATER SHORTAGE)

** The World’s Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources.    Edited by Peter H. Gleick (President, Pacific Institute, Oakland CA; www.pacinst.org). Washington: Island Press, Jan 2009/402p (8x11”)/$35pb.  The sixth biannual volume has essays on the coming point of “peak water” (similar to “peak oil”), the need for a new “soft path” water paradigm, good news and bad news in meeting Millennium Development Goals for safe water, the rapidly unfolding water catastrophe in China (due to economic expansion, pollution, mismanagement), China’s Three Gorges Dam (the largest water-supply development ever, with huge costs), business reporting on water and water risks for business in various industries, wasteful use of water in western US cities, implications of climate change for water resources, and an update on the Tampa Bay desalination plant (cautioning water managers against excessive optimism). [NOTE: Authoritative, readable, and leading-edge.]        (RESOURCES * WATER)

 
* The Atlas of Water: Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource (Second Edition). Maggie Black and Jannet King. U of California Press, Oct 2009/128p/$21.95pb. A visual guide to the state of this life-sustaining resource, using graphics, maps, and charts to address pressing issues such as water shortages, excessive demand, pollution, privatization, water management, impacts of dams and construction, providing safe access, and preserving future supplies.           (RESOURCES * WATER)
 
* The United Nations World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World. UN World Water Assessment Program and UNESCO. London & Sterling VA: Earthscan, July 2009/193p (8x12”)/$63.95pb. Published every three years, this comprehensive review of the state of the world’s freshwater resources focuses on best practices for better stewardship.                          (RESOURCES * WATER)
 
* Every Drop Counts: Environmentally Sound Technologies for Urban and Domestic Water Use Efficiency. UN Environment Programme. NY: United Nations Publications, 2008/200p w. CD-ROM/$40 (sales #E.08.III.D.18). A comprehensive overview of ESTs for water use efficiency and recycling, so as to optimize safe and sufficient supply; intended for policymakers, planners, water boards, water company leaders, health departments, NGOs, and local residents. Also see Water Quality for Ecosystem and Human Health (UNEP, 2009/128p/$25; sales #E.09.III.D.3), on major components of surface and ground water quality.                                                                                                                   (WATER)
 
* Managing Water for All: An OECD Perspective on Pricing and Financing. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD, Aug 2009/148p/$32pb (dist. by Brookings). Billions of people lack access to water and sanitation services, mainly due to poor governance and inadequate investment and maintenance, and the situation is becoming more urgent; this report focuses on the “3 Ts” (taxes, tariffs, and transfers), the importance of a firm evidence base, design of sustainable water pricing strategies, and the future outlook for water use in agriculture.
(WATER * SANITATION * AGRICULTURE AND WATER)
 
* Declaration on U.S. Policy and the Global Challenge of Water: A Report of the CSIS Global Water Futures Project. Erik R. Peterson (Senior VP; project director), Neville Isdell (chair, Coca-Cola Company), and William H. Frist (former majority leader, US Senate). Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 2009/13p (download free from http://csis.org). The world over, water is linked to the stability and security of communities, nations, economic prosperity, health, education, and environmental stewardship. The US has an opportunity to take a global leadership position on water as an ever more critical future resource: it should spearhead a comprehensive global campaign, attempt to catalyze and energize international efforts, reinforce public/private partnerships, etc. Also see Global Water Futures: A Roadmap for US Policy (CSIS, Sept 2008/46p). 
(WATER * CSIS GLOBAL WATER FUTURES PROJECT)
 
* Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It. Robert Glennon (Prof of Law and Public Policy, U of Arizona). Washington: Island Press, April 2009/396p/$27.95 (also available as Audio book and e-book). Author of Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters (Island, 2002) reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry; the looming catastrophe remains hidden as supplies are diverted from one area to another—the shell game will end sooner or later, and market-based solutions are needed to value water.                                                                                       (WATER * U.S. WATER SUPPLIES)
 
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